Mailbag: Can the Mets “Matt Moore” Matt Harvey?

David Tessler sent the following email:

Is there any chance they can “Matt Moore” Matt Harvey? Perhaps they can buy out his arbitration years plus something like 2 years of free agency for about $20-25 million? I know its a risky movie as he logged less than 60 innings but i’m confident because of Harvey’s focus, maturity, and drive. Any chance this can be considered?

Harvey was on the big league roster for 71 days in 2012 (his contract was purchased from Buffalo on July 24, 2012), and so he accumulated 0.39 years of big league service time this past season. It is possible he can become “Super Two” eligible after the 2014 season, which would make him eligible for arbitration at that time and eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. If he doesn’t become “Super Two” eligible after the 2014 season, Harvey will become eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season, and can become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Harvey, who will be 24 on Opening Day, went 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 59 1/3 innings over ten big league starts in 2012. According to FanGraphs, Bill James expects Harvey to go 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA with 88 walks and 196 strikeouts in 192 innings over 30 starts in 2013.

Michael Baron, Contributor

It’s a very good question, David, and something I can see the Mets doing with Harvey within the next year or so.

As was the case with Jon Niese, signing Harvey to a “Matt Moore” deal (personally, I like to call it an “Evan Longoria” deal) would potentially reduce the amount the Mets would need to invest during Harvey’s arbitration years and first few years of free agency by guaranteeing them now (or making them no-brainer options). Of course, the gamble is Harvey gets injured or underperforms over the life of the contract. But given the talent Harvey possesses, it might be a worthy gamble to take, as he could potentially become a tremendous value under such a contract in those years. But don’t forget – Harvey is represented by Scott Boras, and that is a big issue in any negotiation.

I think the Mets could focus on getting this kind of deal done with Ike Davis first, considering he is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter (and could earn around $3 million after earning $490,000 last year). I’d like to see how Ike does in the first part of the year, but if he proves his first half of 2012 was a fluke, it might be best to get Ike locked up sooner rather than later. While they might not be able to get as good of a deal done with Ike as they did with Niese, they could still create cost certainty and potentially secure his services at a big discount at least through the 2015 season.

To send me a question, email me at michaelgbaron@gmail.com.


To see details of Matt Moore's contract with the Rays, click here...

Moore signed a five-year, $14 million contract with the Rays last December. He earned $1 million in 2012, will earn $1 million in 2013, $1 million in 2014, $3 million in 2015, $5 million in 2016, and the team holds a $5 million option for him in 2017 with a $2.5 million buyout, a $9 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout, and a $10 million option for 2019 with a $750,000 buyout.

The value of Moore’s option years can increase based on certain performance achievements as well.

Moore would have accumulated the required three years of big league service time to be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season, and could have become a free agent after the 2017 season. Instead, Moore’s first two original years of arbitration are guaranteed for a total of $8 million, and his final year of arbitration is in the form of a $5 million option (which, considering the rules for arbitration, would be foolish for the Rays not to pick up if he’s performing).

In his first full season with the Rays, Moore went 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA with 175 strikeouts and 81 walks in 177 1/3 innings over 31 starts.




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